A seminary student from Ohio was arrested in California Friday for allegedly planning adopt and have sex with an infant in Mexico.

Joel A. Wright, who was attending Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, was arrested after his plane landed at the San Diego International Airport. He had planned to continue to Mexico, where he’d go to a hotel and buy a baby for sex.

Federal authorities started investigating him after learning in July of 2014 that he’d tried paying for someone to adopt a Mexican child for his pleasure. Last November, an undercover federal agent started talking to him online, posing as a tour guide in Mexico.

During their back-and-forth correspondence, Wright said he wanted to “adopt or purchase baby girl under the age of 3” and have sex with her and film it, according to officials. He expected to meet this tour guide in San Diego.

The 23-year-old, who was diagnosed with glaucoma as a baby, now faces two federal sex charges. The seminary school immediately expelled him.


“We’re both shocked and saddened to learn of his involvement in such reprehensible allegations,” the Rev. John Allen, a spokesman for the school, said in a statement to an Ohio newspaper.

According to a profile on Vermont’s state government website, he wanted to be a priest to encourage others to overcome their disabilities.

“Joel feels a calling to the ministry of a priest in order to help others find themselves and find purpose in their lives,” the page said.

According to that same profile, Wright is “Living his American Dream.”